Like it or not, you’re having it

Dear Residents,

These two pieces are a summation of what is wrong with the Otterpool Consultation process. At root the biggest unanswered issue is why is this being proposed.

If it is because of an “objective assessment” of housing need then publish that in a form that is comprehensible to everyone in Shepway. And explain at the same time why these numbers have increased so dramatically compared to the numbers that have been presented with the same confidence over the past fifteen to twenty years of District-wide masterplanning. Just why should we swallow these new numbers?

The questions remain “WHY THIS? WHY NOW? and WHY HERE?”

These questions were asked all through last year, and since. They are still unanswered.

 

Read on for some indication of the attitude of the leading protagonists.

This statement is copied from the Otterpool Park website, buried deep, as a precursor to the public enragement meetings today, tomorrow and Saturday.

” 500 people attended the first engagement sessions last year, sharing their views and concerns about Otterpool Park.

Andy Jarrett, spokesman for Otterpool Park, said: “We were pleased to see so many local people attend the sessions last year, and the feedback we’ve received will help to shape the proposed garden town. We hope to see even more people at the next events. Residents and other members of the community can see how their contributions so far have informed ideas, and importantly, can find out more about how we are addressing areas of concern for infrastructure, housing type and green space.”

Andy Jarratt

Andy Jarratt, Head of Strategic Development Projects at Shepway district Council was interviewed on Radio Kent, broadcast 15 June 2017.

It went like this:-

REPORTER.
Who the homes will be for?

ANDY JARRATT
It will be drawing people from the local area. It will have a particular emphasis on trying to ensure that affordable homes meet the requirements of those that are unable to afford homes at the moment.
But also that we are trying to introduce a new demographic to the area and to increase the economically active population.

REPORTER.
You are actively looking for people to move in from outside of the area then

ANDY JARRATT
We are looking to business to see what business requires and for new facilities we think that will drive a new skill base so it will be a mix of local people benefiting from that but yes and it will be open to people with skills from elsewhere to come to the area.

REPORTER.
Do you know where house prices might start from?

ANDY JARRATT
(Sigh)
We don’t I think it’s worth recognising that this is a long-term project. we hope to be on site 2020 but even then you can appreciate that things will change a lot. It will be important that affordability of homes is taken account of so there will be starter homes within the mix of that I’m quite sure I think it’s likely there will be key worker homes available to the people with particular skill sets that we are trying to encourage. I mean affordability is very much in our mind.

REPORTER.
Roughly then how much would a starter home cost do you think?

ANDY JARRATT
I just don’t know I don’t think we know how much any home will cost into a three years time. It’s got to be valuable it’s got to meet the market it will be governed by the market conditions at the time.

REPORTER.
There has obviously been lots of protest about this development you know we had hundreds of people marching on the streets not too long ago. How are you trying to get those people on board and the concerns that they have.

ANDY JARRATT
(Big sigh)
Well I think what we’re trying to do through our own engagement really is to help people shape the settlement and it’s not a question… You appreciate we are promoting the project our role in life is to make it work for as many people as we can. And I think we will have to assume that there will be some people who object to this proposal as people object to any significant proposal. Ummm what we’re trying to do essentially is to work with those who will work with us and to meet as many needs as possible.

 

REPORTER.
What would you say to those people who so far have felt a bit ignored in this process.?

ANDY JARRATT
(Bigger sigh)
… If there are people out there who feel ignored …. I think we need to draw attention to what we are doing and we have an open dialogue with all good will talk to us. I don’t pretend for a minute that we will be able to meet everybody’s requirements because some people don’t want to see this scheme happen at all. Some people don’t want to see development happen at all. But what is driving this is a need to meet the needs of the many, and this is based on an objective assessment of what future housing need is is required in the area and we have a responsibility I think to meet that need.

REPORTER.
Those people that aren’t happy with the plan, they just have to put up with it then?

ANDY JARRATT
(Even bigger sigh)
While they have to…they have to put up with it, or they have to try and work with us to shape it.
What we are not entering into is a dialogue about it not happening.

REPORTER.
And that consultation on going of course……

 

S&DRA

DEMOCRACY AT SHEPWAY IS DEAD. (again)

Dear Residents,

Do you think your council tax is being spent on worthwhile and essential services: Ones’ that you feel you’ve have had a say in. Ones’ that have followed the path of democracy?

Think again. Our friends at Shepwayvox have highlighted 4 payments to the proposed New Town Master planner’s, Arcadis.

The ‘eye opener’ is here

S&DRA

Cunning indeed

Dear Residents,

 
WOW  – WHAT A CUNNING STUNT.
 
Well, she pulled it off. Going on the old adage that you can fool some of the people, some of the time has most definitely worked for KCC Councillor, Susan Carey. She convinced one in five of the Elham Valley electorate to go along to the polling station and place a cross next to her name. But were they aware that Ms Carey was not, shall we say, putting the electorate totally in the picture. Did they vote for the smiling Susan that you see pictured below, stating that she would safeguard the environment, give young people the best possible start in life, campaigning for better broadband and mobile phone signals. Of course they did. They were also probably of the mindset that they had always voted Conservative so why would they want to change a habit of a lifetime when all appears so hunky dory. 
 
But hang on a minute; did they realise that there was another side to Ms Carey: one that she is actually ashamed of. Yes, ashamed of. If she wasn’t ashamed of her involvement in the urbanisation of our countryside or the fact that she voted to support the building of a lorry park, why didn’t she shout it from on high. Quite simply because it would probably have altered the voting pattern of the election and ensured that her KCC salary and expenses would be extinguished in one foul swoop. 
 
Pictured below is (also) the smiling Susan Carey that we have used on our spoof election material to keep the electorate completely in the picture. Obviously it didn’t reach 1 in 5 of the electorate that actually voted for Ms Carey, but it better reflects what Ms Carey is all about.
 
My name is Susan Carey. I support the urbanisation of our countryside in and around Lympne, Sellindge, Newingreen, Westenhanger and Court at Street.
I voted for the concreting over of 250 acres of good arable farmland to build a Lorry Park that would never actually solve the problems that Operation Stack brings to this part of Kent.
I voted for and support the building of 150 homes and a leisure centre at Princes Parade, Hythe.
I fiercely rebuffed any suggestion from Councillor Mary Lawes that existing homes should be upgraded before building a New town that would bring 30% open space (as opposed to 100%) to rural communities.
I, along with deputy Leader Hollingsbee, have always maintained my position (since the Lorry park and New Town announcements) regarding meeting the Shepway electorate: NO PUBLIC MEETINGS WHATSOEVER. If you would like to talk with me and Jenny Hollingsbee, please contact me to arrange a meeting. I will only speak to individuals.
 
 
There we have it. Susan Carey didn’t actually write any of that, but it more accurately reflects her position as a Councillor. So, was she dishonest or economical with the truth on her election material? Was she too ashamed to mention all of the facts above? Is she fit to hold public office? We’ll leave you to decide all of those things. So, if you happen to meet a Carey voter, ask them if they actually know what they’ve voted for. Chances are, you’ll be met with a vacant gaze and the old adage: “They’re all the same, whoever you vote for“.
 
God help us.
 
S&DRA.

What a turnout

Dear 4th May Voters,
A massive thank you to all who turned out to show their disgust and anger at the way Shepway District Council treats us all. Their lack of transparency and devious dealings over unneeded developments across our District has led to this backlash by Shepway Residents, calling for resignations and justified claims of dodgy dealers and worse.
S&DRA

Hunt the Monk

Dear Residents,

Today, Thursday, 6th April, 5 candidates attended the Hustings at the Civic Centre:

Stephen Priestley, UKIP. Tim Prater, Lib Dem. Martin Whybrow, Green. Aaran Harvey, Labour.
Bryan Rylands, Independant.

Unfortunately, Councillor and Leader of Shepway District Coucil, David Monk was scheduled to attend but pulled out due to: Your guess is as good as mine. We would have loved for our leader to attend so he could justify his actions over Otterpool, The Lorry Park, Princes Parade and the partnership between SDC and the Reuben (offshore, thank you very much) Brothers, but alas, it wasn’t to be.

To be honest, there wasn’t a lot to choose from between the candidates, with the main theme being concentrated on the NHS, Ward closures and lack of funding. With members of the audience being paid up members of the Fifty Plus group, it was hardly surprising that the NHS took centre stage.

The issues surrounding Otterpool New Town, Princes Parade and the Lorry Park were obviously raised with all candidates speaking with one voice. (Perhaps Cllr. Monk felt too embarrassed to attend on those issues alone). Lack of transparency within the Council cabal was mooted with one candidate likening our area to a police state. An abuse of power, indeed.

 

The mood in the hall was most definitely anti SDC with the audience fully aware of the shenanigans of Monk and his Cabinet Cronies. It wasn’t just the audience that voiced their dissent: At the candidates top table, speeches were interspersed with the words Corruption, Lies, Dodgy dealings, Closed door meetings and more. It’s clear that more and more residents are becoming familiar with the authoritarian regime that exists at Castle Hill Avenue. It’s also clear that the Civic Centre swamp needs to be drained, sooner, rather than later.

We can start on the 4th May by casting your vote for a candidate that will actually serve you. In other words, anyone rather than an incumbent Shepway Tory.

S&DRA.

Another brick in the wall

Dear Residents,

Please take the time to read the article below. Written by David Plumstead, it sets out the battles that we are all facing in this part of East Kent.

Here it be:

 

Another Brick in the Wall

If successful, Shepway Council’s latest attempt to treat its residents and electorate like mushrooms by holding Tuesday’s Cabinet meeting to discuss Otterpool Newtown behind closed doors may yet prove to be a mistake. Of itself an ill-judged decision but also another brick in the wall the Gang of (now) Seven and our sycophantic and self-serving member of Parliament are building around the Lubyanka in Castle Hill Avenue.

But we know what fate ultimately awaits walls erected to keep the public at bay.

The last wall I had anything to do with was in Berlin. 3mtrs high and made of solid concrete but that took residents on both sides just hours to knock big holes in once the politicians and the despots on the East side had been shown to be made of straw. Remind you of anyone?

So much is being done against the wishes of the electorate and residents of Shepway, now might be a good moment to remind ourselves of the growing list of outrageous, environmentally and socially unsustainable developments being foisted on us by our own despots, namely Alistair Stewart, David Monk, Jeremy Chambers, Susan Priest, Jennifer Hollingsbee, Susan Carey and Damian Collins. Here we go:

1. Otterpool Newtown – saying goodbye to the villages of Sellindge, Lympne, the Racecourse, Newingreen, Westenhanger, Stanford and West Hythe – 2. the M20 Lorry Park, 3. Princes Parade, 4. Shorncliffe Camp, 5. 1150 more plus shops etc etc at Nickolls Quarry and 6. another 8,000+ listed in the Local Development Plan or already approved/started and 7. umpteen disparate small and medium sized developments scattered across the District amounting to another couple of thousand at least.

8. Then there’s the grotesque blocks of concrete flats at Fishermans Beach where the new occupants are already lobbying to remove the inshore Fishermen and the Seabrook Sea Anglers and their huts because they are spoiling their view and their nets are ugly. Pots calling kettles black here!

I participated in the proposed Jnc 10a Planning Inquiry ten days ago and learned that within three miles of Sellindge we and the residents of Mersham are faced with a new complex of 1. really huge Warehouses – the biggest in the SE – and 2. yet another lorry park 3. the disappearance of the C12th listed Sevington Church to be buried among the 4. Houses 5. Houses 6. Houses.

Thousands of them at 7. Cheeseman’s Green soon to connect with an even bigger 8. Kingsnorth and bury 9. Aldington. The 1,500 houses of 10. the Finberry development continue all along the SE side of the Ashford ring road with Swans flying on the hoardings on the way to several thousand more at 11. Chilmington Green and 12. a further 950 at Court Lodge 13. 400 at Steeds Lane and 14. 150 at Pounds Lane making a total of 3,000 e & oe.

There are so many I have probably overlooked several and if I have counted any in twice they will make up for the thousands more we haven’t been told about. I may not have one foot in the grave but I feel bound to say “I don’t believe it!!”

Now Eddie Stobart management flew in by helicopter ten days ago during the Planning Inquiry to inspect the warehouse site rejoicing in the name of ‘Stour Park’ wouldn’t you know it. If that huge international haulage company sets up shop at Jnc 10a it will be a 24/7 operation offering no peace for the occupants of the Pilgrim’s Hospice dying immediately on the opposite side of the A20.

Officially the words ‘Stour’ and ‘Park’ may mean a river and a ‘large public garden in a town for recreation’ but they are new words in the English Planners’, Councillors’ and Developers’ lexicon, where the definitions, with apologies to the compilers of the Concise OED at the bottom of page 533, need to be extended to include warehouses, industrial and housing estates, sewage pumping stations and roads.

We need to be very conscious of the use Local Authorities and Developers now make of pleasant words like ‘Park’, ‘Green’, ‘Lane’, ‘Court Lodge’ and (river) ‘Stour’ when naming once precious places about to be covered in concrete. Our language is being highjacked from under our noses along with our open spaces.

David Plumstead
Shepway Environment and Community Network

Transparency – SDC take note

Dear Residents,

In line with our policy of total transparency and following up on our last post: ‘The Worm is turning’, we are posting an email conversation between a long standing Sellindge Resident and County Councillor, Susan Carey. Strong language indeed from our Resident but totally warranted if you consider the deplorable way in which Shepway DC treats us all. If you are in any doubt as to the validity of our Residents email, why not contact Ms Carey this (Sunday) evening; She clearly states it’s a good time to ring her.

If you have an email conversation in a similar vein, we’d love to hear from you.

Dear Susan Carey,

I read at the end of your monthly article that you mentioned that you had been pleased to serve such a beautiful part of the country, but we know that you are hell bent to ruining the area of Sellindge, Stanford, Lympne ,Otterpool and Princes Parade. Why?…. I used to take my grand children to the existing pool and the council failed to keep it clean and the changing rooms were a disgrace so we stopped going.

The same thing will happen in Princes Parade and the developer will fail to build ‘affordable housing’ like they did at Imperial Green. Wake up before SDC ruin a beautiful place that we can all enjoy. It is unique. We are fed up with all the lies and closed meetings.

Many people who have lived here for years and newcomers are dismayed that SDC turn deaf ears to all our pleas.

Yours Sincerely

Sellindge Resident.

Dear Sellindge Resident,

I do listen to you but I don’t agree with your view on Otterpool Park.  We need more homes and I believe a better way to provide them is to have a planned new town like Letchworth, Kings Hill or Poundbury.  These are beautiful places with green spaces.

Kind Regards,

Susan Carey

Member for Elham Valley, Kent County Council

District Councillor, North Downs West, Shepway District Council.

Ms Susan Carey is standing for re-election on the 4th May.

S&DRA.

Where are our SDC representatives?

Dear Residents, 
We have just been copied in with an email sent from Les Barratt, Vice Chair of Monks Horton Parish to Amandeep Khroud at SDC.
On reading, we found this to be both unbelievable and outrageous. Where are our representatives? All towing the same line? Unfortunately we won’t have a chance to vote for a change in our District Councillors until 2019, but we will all be voting in the forthcoming County election on the 4th May in the Shepway Wards. Change MUST come.                                                                                                                                                                                                                            
Dear Ms Khroud,

 
I refer to your email dated 15th Feb 2017 to Mr. Ashley Tanton which reads:
 
The report being considered on 7th March is a key decision because it “is likely to be significant in terms of its effect on communities living or working in an area comprising two or more wards in the councils area.”
 
Please would you explain to me, if the effects on communities are so significant, why are those residents within those communities not being included in any debate, or discussion on the 7th March. 
 
As you are Head of Democratic Services and Law, I would like you to explain to me, in detail, what your definition of ‘Democratic Services’ actually means.
 
I look forward to your response in the morning (6th March 2017).
 
Les Barratt. Vice Chair, Monks Horton Parish Meeting.

DISMISSIVE, INSOUCIANT OR LACKING INFORMATION FROM SHEPWAY DC – YOU DECIDE.

Dear Residents,

One of our residents has recently brought to our attention a communication from Ms Lisa Flounders which we think is unhelpful and bordering on dismissive. It relates to the ‘Community engagement’ in early December where Cozumel Estates (Reuben Brothers), held a 3 day, 4 venue event to introduce local residents to the notion of having a new town on our doorstep and how advantageous it would be to us all.

Here’s the email thread:

Dear Ms Flounders

There has not, to my knowledge, been any published information regarding the public reaction to the above presentations. Could you please advise me what level of support for the Otterpool Garden town scheme was indicated by the public meetings. I look forward to hearing from you.

Resident of Lympne

Dear Mrs xxxxxxx

Many thanks for your email.

We’ll be coming back again to the public this spring with further details, following the sessions in December.

Best wishes

Lisa Flounders.

Dr Ms Flounders,

Thank you for your email but you have not answered my question. Please let me know what level of
support for Otterpool was shown at the above meetings

Kind regards

Resident of Lympne

 

Dear Mrs xxxxxxxx,

Thank you for your email, I’ll be sure to contact you when this information is available.

Best wishes,

Lisa Flounders.

Judging by the response of Ms Flounders, one would assume that she possesses an insouciant quality that is far from being admired.

Her contact details: 01483 561119 or otterpoolpark@housegroup.co.uk or info@housegroup.co.uk. We’re sure that Ms Flounders would love to hear from residents expressing their concerns that evidence of support for the New Town is being withheld. Why not contact her and ask the reason why?

Considering that the ‘Community engagement’ was on the 8th, 9th and 10th December last year we would have thought that there would have been enough time between then and now to publish the findings of the so called Community engagement.
Ms Flounders actually works for a company based in the Guilford area (so much for local companies being used by SDC) called Property housemarketing. Acting as an agent for SDC, could it be that SDC has yet to communicate with Ms Flounders?

On a previous post we presented our own findings as residents entered and left the so called ‘Community engagements: In percentage terms, the support for building a New Town within our communities totalled (wait for it)…………….1.5%. Was this the silent majority that our Caribbean suntanned (more on that to come) Deputy leader and Councillor Jenny Hollingsbee told us was supporting the Otterpool New Town notion?

It would come as no surprise to us all that the requested information is being held back for fear of rocking the proposed ‘New Town’ boat. Moreover, it was only two weeks ago that Leader of SDC, David Monk said in a press article that the Community engagements would START in March of this year. Disregarding events and information seems to be a habit that Cllr Monk finds it very difficult to break.

It was also David Monk that told a great untruth on BBC radio last year intimating that the Council had the full support of 27 Parish Councillors for the New Town at a meeting on 7th June 2016 when in actual fact the opposite was true.

David Monk, Leader of Shepway District Council. If our information is correct, he will be standing as a candidate in the forthcoming County Council election on 4th May in one of the Folkestone wards. We would have liked to present a list of his qualities as our District Council Leader but alas, we just can’t think of any. We say that, but none that are actually printable. We’ll leave it there for now.

S&DRA.